“The prayer of both was heard in the presence of the glory of God.”
A reading from the Book of Tobit (Tobit 3:1- 11a.16-17a)
In those days: in my grief I wept, and I prayed in anguish, saying, “Righteous are you, O Lord; all your deeds are just and all your ways are mercy and truth, and you render true and righteous judgement for ever. And now, O Lord, remember me and look favourably upon me; do not punish me for my sins and for my unwitting offences and those which my fathers committed before you. For we disobeyed your commandments, and you gave us over to plunder, captivity, and death; you made us the talk, the byword, and an object of reproach in all the nations among which you have dispersed us. And now your many judgements are true in exacting penalty from me for my sins and those of my fathers, because we did not keep your commandments. For we did not walk in truth before you. And now deal with me according to your pleasure; command my spirit to be taken up, that I may be released from the face of the earth and become dust. For it is better for me to die than to live, because I have heard false reproaches, and great is the sorrow within me. Command that I now be released from my distress; release me to go to the eternal abode; and do not, O Lord, turn your face away from me. For it is better for me to die than to see so much distress in my life and to listen to such insults.” On the same day, at Ecbatana in Media, it also happened that Sarah, the daughter of Raguel, was reproached by her father’s maids, because she had been given to seven husbands, and the evil demon Asmodeus had slain each of them before he had been with her as his wife. So the maids said to her, “You are the one who kills your husbands! See, you already have had seven and have had no benefit from any of them. Why do you beat us? Because your husbands are dead? Go with them! May we never see a son or daughter of yours!” On that day she was deeply grieved in spirit and wept. When she had gone up to her father’s upper room, she intended to hang herself. But she thought it over and said, “Never shall they reproach my father, saying to him, ‘You only had one beloved daughter but she hanged herself because of her distress. ’ And I shall bring his old age down in sorrow to the grave. It is better for me not to hang myself, but to pray the Lord that I may die and not listen to these reproaches any more.” At that same time, with hands outstretched towards the window, she prayed and said, “Blessed are you, O Lord, merciful God, and blessed is your holy and honoured name.” At that very moment, the prayer of both was heard in the presence of the glory of the great God. And Raphael was sent to heal the two of them.
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm 25:2-3.4-5ab.6 and 7bc.8-9 (R. 1)
R/. To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
In you, O my God, I have trusted;
let me not be put to shame;
let not my enemies exult over me.
Let none who hope in you be put to shame;
but shamed are those who wantonly break faith. R.
O Lord, make me know your ways.
Teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth, and teach me;
for you are the God of my salvation. R.
Remember your compassion,
O Lord, and your merciful love,
for they are from of old.
In your merciful love remember me,
because of your goodness, O Lord. R.
Good and upright is the Lord;
he shows the way to sinners.
He guides the humble in right judgement;
to the humble he teaches his way. R.
ALLELUIAL John 11:25a.26
Alleluia. I am the resurrection and the life, says the Lord; he who believes in me shall never die. Alleluia.
“He is not God of the dead, but of the living.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark (Mark 12: 18-27)
At that time: Sadducees came to Jesus, who say that there is no resurrection; and they asked him a question, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife, but leaves no child, the man must take the wife, and raise up children for his brother. There were seven brothers; the first took a wife, and when he died left no children; and the second took her, and died, leaving no children; and the third likewise; and the seven left no children. Last of all the woman also died. In the resurrection whose wife will she be? For the seven had her as wife.” Jesus said to them, “Is not this why you are wrong, that you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God? For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living; you are quite wrong.”
The Gospel of the Lord
Overcome by grief and remorse, Tobit prays “to be delivered from such anguish.” Meanwhile, hundreds of miles away in Media, Sarah prays for deliverance from an actual devil, Asmodeus who has “killed off” her seven husbands. God answers both prayers through the angel Raphael, who is sent to guide Tobit’s son Tobiah to Sarah. To mock Jesus, the Sadducees, who reduced the theory of resurrection to an old wives’ tale, invent another widow with seven husbands: “At the resurrection, whose wife will she be? But the resurrection is no joke; Jesus proves it by quoting the voice in the burning bush: “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,” All three are referred to as still living. Life in heaven is however not a continuation of life on earth; it is a life qualitatively different from life on earth. We will be like the angels.